Thursday, May 31, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
hit a record high again. Nearly every station was posting regular at a dollar-fifty-point-something per litre. Or, if we’re talking US gallons, nearly six bucks.
It sounds as though some of the high prices have to do with ‘problems’ at Cherry Point, the Washington state refinery we see at night from the local beach. Yet as if to further confuse the issue, fuel prices across the line in Bellingham, Washington are hovering around $4.25 - $4.50.
But then today, oh miracle of miracles, I guess we’re supposed to feel that we’re living in the land of bargains, as the cost of fuel has dropped a whole five cents a litre (almost a 20 cents difference if we’re talking per US gallon), and is down to the still-not-cheap $1.45.
Comparison shopping beyond the price of gas – for clothes, running shoes, electronics (even house siding manufactured in Canada) – reveals that prices are often at least a third less if you shop in the U.S.
Especially where we’ll soon be permitted to bring back more when we shop across the line, it’s seeming more and more as though ‘they’ (yes, the proverbial ‘they’) are doing all they can to make life so expensive here, when they make the offer for us to become the 51st state we'll gladly fold our maple leaf into the red bars of the stars and stripes and start singing a different anthem.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
most beautiful public libraries. The photo, not the standard view of the building, is a shot I took looking up at the glassed roof.
Sadly, inside the building, it’s not all so pretty. There’s a mix of good and ugly going on.
VIWF’s Incite Series.
The readers were Vincent Lam and Linden MacIntyre. As might be expected, their readings had everyone following every word.
MacIntyre pulled off the evening's biggest laugh with his comment in response to a question from the audience he couldn't quite hear. "Like they say in Newfoundland," he said, "hearing is the second thing to go."
The only cloud on the event was the fact that as we entered we learned that the librarians at VPL are having to fight to defend their jobs.
Many staff members have had their hours cut to lower than the magic cut-off line of 20 hours. Below 20 hours, a worker no longer qualifies for sick pay.
There are a number of other ugly complications, but they’re spelled out better than I can state them at the library workers’ website.
The reason the city is having to slash $500,000 from the library’s budget? What else, last year’s ‘supposed-to-boost-Vancouver’s-economy’ slash in the pan Olympics.
Good luck, London. I hope your city fares better.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Yesterday’s decision permitting Conrad Black back into Canada makes me wonder what’s going on in this country – a country once known for its compassionate sense of justice.
Black was convicted of serious crimes, which in itself is supposed to make him less-than-welcome. Beyond that, in the interests of acquiring a lordship in England, Black officially renounced his Canadian citizenship.
So why, I ask, does the red tape fly out the door and the gold-plated welcome mat get laid at his feet?
The unfairness of this decision seems even more horrific when contrasted with the case of Rodney Watson. He’s the American soldier who found Iraq to be more than he’d bargained for, and quite a contrast to what he’d been told to expect. Like so many other soldiers of conscience, he left the US army and headed for Canada, where he thought he would find asylum.
Only Watson hasn't been granted asylum in our country. Rather, he has been residing in sanctuary provided by Vancouver’s First United Church.
The full horror of his situation sinks in when you realize he's been living at the church since the autumn of 2009 – nearly three years.
Yet Conrad Black waltzes in after waiting a day.
Is it simply because Rodney Watson doesn’t have the kind of bankroll Conrad Black has?
Like I said, could somebody please show me what’s fair about this?